Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Christmas in June (couldn't wait for July)

Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop: 'tis the season to be deadly : stories of mistletoe and mayhem from 17 masters of suspense; short stories collected by Otto Penzler. ISBN: 1593156170, New York : Vanguard Press, 2010. The story of how this book came into being is as wonderful as this book. There is, it seems, a truly wonderful book shop in NY, and each Christmas, an especially commissioned short story is given to special customers as a holiday/thank you gift. The rules are simple. The story must take place during the Christmas season, and at least some of the action must take place in the book shop. Other than that, the authors are free to work their will, and oh, they do! This collection contains 17 stories. You probably won’t like all of them equally, you might not like some of them, but I’d be willing to bet my cat (if I had one) that there would be at least 1 (and probably more) that delight you. Most are light, some are truly funny, and one, once you see what the author is doing is so cleverly hilarious, both in language and plot, that I just had to read it twice! This collection features some of the best known names in detective fiction, and reading those contributions almost feels like a shared social occasion. Alan Westlake and Dortmunder are there: Ed McBane is there: as is Mary Higgins Clark (just a tease of names to whet your appetite), and her wonderful story actually got a tear from me ..of happiness, I might add. This book won’t change your life, or even tell you how to live it, but it could easily become, I think, one of your treasured holiday traditions …to be sampled at quiet times during that hectic time, accompanied, of course, by a glass of well doctored eggnog, some Christmas cookies, or perhaps leftover snacks from the tree trimming party.


  1. I used to work directly across the street from the Mysterious Bookshop when they were located on West 55th Street in New York City. I believe the shop is now located much further downtown. It was a lovely shop filled with all genres of mystery books and many rare books as well. I spent quite a few hours browsing their shelves when I could still read traditional print books. I'm glad you enjoyed this collection.


    1. OK, I am officially jealous!!!!! But how grand! Did they really have those glorious Christmas parties? Did you get to meet Otto? Was there a book shop cat? It sounds like the kind of place I could spend most of my time in, even more so if they had sold recorded cassette books (which I don't think they did.) Still ...I'm *sure* I could find a corner somewhere ...

  2. I just checked and the Mysterious Bookshop is now located in Tribeca in downtown Manhattan.

    Here is the link if you wish to visit the website and perhaps sign up for their weekly newsletter